Before he did anything else, he took out the rechargeable lantern he kept under the kitchen sink. Although it was still at least an hour until sunset, shadows filled the room, and he saw heavy clouds moving in over the lake. Switching the device on to its lowest setting—unless pitch-black outside, the highest option was far too bright—he set it on the counter. Canned soup and pasta were two things he always kept on hand since both were quick and easy to make. He’d had pasta and meatballs last night and would rather not have it again.
“We’ve got plenty of canned soup and sandwich meat.”
“Sounds good. What can I do to help?”
Slapping together a sandwich and heating soup didn’t require much effort, and it wasn’t a two-person job. “Don’t worry about it. What kind of soup do you want? We’ve got chicken noodle, beef barley, and tomato.”
“Chicken is fine.”
Once he had the soup heating on the stove, he got out everything to make sandwiches. His mom always insisted guests got served first, and at some point in his life, he’d adopted her theory. “What kind of sandwich would you like?”
Juliette’s hand covered his as he reached for the bread. Heat hotter than the flame under the saucepan on the stove shot across his skin. “I can make the sandwiches for us. Just tell me what you want.”
You. “A little of everything. And while you take care of this, I’ll get some flashlights and candles from the garage.”
Maybe while he was out there, he’d find his common sense too, because the more time he spent around Juliette, the more he wanted to take his sister’s advice and see what happened if he asked her out.
When he came back, two sandwiches sat on the counter, and Juliette stood at the stove mixing the chicken soup. Although he’d seen her in his kitchen several times, he’d never noticed just how right she looked there, as if she actually belonged, which was bizarre because in another two months or so, she’d check out and they’d never see her again.
“I lowered the heat because it was boiling.”
“Thanks.” She’s not sticking around. He sent himself the mental reminder and got out two bowls. “If you want to get something to drink or start eating, I’ll take care of this.” He waited for her to move so he could fill the bowls. Rather than move away, she turned off the stove, removed the bowls from his hands, and set them down.
Stepping closer, she met his eyes and gestured toward the stack of magazines on the counter that hadn’t made it into the recycling bin. Even without looking, he knew her face graced the cover of the one on top. He also remembered the headline above the picture.
“I didn’t know he was married.”
Okay, did she expect a response from him? And if so, what kind? He parted his lips, although he had no idea what he planned to say. He didn’t get a chance to speak, however.
“The media is claiming otherwise. But I wanted you to know the truth. If I’d known Daniel was married, I never would’ve gotten involved with him.”
For the second time in the space of a few seconds, she left him scrambling for a response. “That’s….”
The signals traveling from his brain to his mouth paused when Juliette took a step closer to him, and her breasts brushed against his chest. Since his move back to Avon, he hadn’t spent a lot of time around women, but he recognized the intent on Juliette’s face. Aaron should move away, put a little breathing room between them. The hand suddenly on his shoulder kept him in place better than the concrete blocks he used to keep the swim platform in place in the lake.
Any neurons still firing in his brain stopped when her lips touched his. And every reason he’d given himself for not getting involved with Juliette evaporated as she caressed his lips with hers.
Sooner than he would’ve liked, she pulled her mouth away, but her hand remained on the back of his neck. Exactly when it got there, he couldn’t say, but her fingers continued to move across his skin much the way her lips had been moving against his a second ago. Unfortunately, the nerve endings on his neck seemed to be the only things working at the damn moment. His head certainly wasn’t—at least not the head on top of his shoulders. The one below his belt certainly had some ideas. Ones he had no intention of letting happen tonight.
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